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Right now I'm only offering domestic shipping via USPS Priority mail. What do I, and other t-shirt sellers need to know about international shipping? Are there customs issues I should be aware of? What is your experience with international shipping?
 

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I send international packages USPS International Priority using their on-line click-n-ship service. After you've entered the mailing address you have to fill out a section about the contents of the package. You must list all of the different items in the package, how many of each item, how much each item weighs, the value of each item, and give a short description of each (i.e. "Men's cotton shirt").

After you've paid on-line, you print the labels along with 3 copies of international shipping forms (this all prints out together) and you must sign each copy. One copy is yours, one is the USPS's and one is for customs. Take these all into the post office and they will stamp each copy. My mailman even picks up my international packages and takes them to the P.O. to get stamped so I don't have to do it.

I've had no problems. In fact the international priority packages usually arrive faster than the domestic ones.
 

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I think it might actually be considered a "gift" (someone buying a "gift" for themselves or a loved one?) I could be wrong though.

When using USPS, I either send Global Priority Mail or US Airmail. Here's the US Post Office info on addressing the package:
http://pe.usps.gov/text/imm/immc1_002.html#vnameref_1

I usually print out a label on a 2 up sticker label sheet with my return address in block letters and the ship to address in block letters.

You need this customs form for any package under 4 pounds:
http://shop.usps.com/webapp/wcs/sto...01&categoryId=13357&productId=11679&langId=-1

You can order them free from the post office so you have a supply at home (they like it when you come to their counter prepared :))
 

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State very clearly in your terms and conditions that the buyer is responsible for all taxes and import duties in their own country. Be sure to state clearly and honestly what is in the package on the customs form and as the PP said don't do anybody any favors and state "gift".

If you take credit cards, be very careful about which countries you accept orders from. Some countries are notorious for credit card fraud - you might be surprised which ones.

I think it is great that you are shipping internationally. I am fairly new to the US and can understand now I am here why many businesses here don't bother. However, when you are overseas it is very frustrating when you find something in the US you want and they won't sell to you (happens less often now but used to happen all the time, especially at wholesale level).

Also, places like the UK and Europe are actually very good markets to hit because US stuff seems such a good deal when you are over there and think it is normal to pay $60 for an average quality fashion t-shirt :)
 

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I have a list of all the non-taxable maximum values for all countries somewhere....I'll dig it up (such as the UK is GBP18 before an import tax, although effectively GBP32 due to how the tariff is structured, and Australia is AUS$1000)
 

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Rodney said:
I think it might actually be considered a "gift" (someone buying a "gift" for themselves or a loved one?) I could be wrong though.
If you buy a shirt at a store, you still have to pay tax for it even if you are giving it to someone else. The same applies for customs taxes. I am pretty sure that a gift means something someone is giving to you which you did not pay them for.

Here's a link with some info as to what qualifies for the exemption when shipping to Canada:

http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/import/courier/postal/ind_duty_free-e.html
 

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I'm kinda confused here.

Who pays the import taxes? Is a tarriff different from this... who pays those?

I've only once shipped out of the country, and that was to Sweden. It cost $9.00 via USPS, and an extra 5 minutes worth of forms.

Can someone please fill me in on this. As well, I believe USPS locations have "international ratefolds". Look for those.

As well, does anyone have a list of countries that should be safe to import into? I've seen this change dramatically site to site. Thanks!
 

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Import said:
If you take credit cards, be very careful about which countries you accept orders from. Some countries are notorious for credit card fraud - you might be surprised which ones.
Care to elaborate? =)

monkeylantern said:
I have a list of all the non-taxable maximum values for all countries somewhere....I'll dig it up (such as the UK is GBP18 before an import tax, although effectively GBP32 due to how the tariff is structured, and Australia is AUS$1000)
Post it if you find it; that would be useful information.
 

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comicaltees said:
What do I, and other t-shirt sellers need to know about international shipping?
Not much. Look into the USPS Global Priority flat rate envelopes - they can often be used to save you and your customer money (they're often cheaper than airmail). In general Global Priority is generally a bit more expensive than Air Mail, but occasionally it works out cheaper. Both are good (and often arrive at the same time), so unless the customer is in a hurry go with whichever is cheaper (but check both).

Never, ever, ever use sea (surface) mail, unless your customer really, really knows what they're getting themselves into, and you're confident their order isn't fraudulent. Simpler to just not use it. USPS often tell people it takes something like a month, but they can't be trusted. Surface mail will take 1-3 months, with the upper end of that not being uncommon. By which time even if the order is legitimate the customer may have given up on it and initiated a chargeback with the credit card company.

comicaltees said:
Are there customs issues I should be aware of?
Not really. Always tell the truth, and let the customer worry about any consequences that causes for them (like import taxes).

It may sound harsh, but it's not likely to be a problem for most of your customers, and more importantly lying on a customs declaration is a federal crime - no customer is worth that.

comicaltees said:
What is your experience with international shipping?
Generally it's fast and reliable.
 

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Great. So all I have to put is a small disclaimer that their liable for all import / tariff charges?

I'm assuming import and tariff are the same thing?
 

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error426 said:
Great. So all I have to put is a small disclaimer that their liable for all import / tariff charges?
I'll hunt around for the list, but for the vast majority of countries, unless they are buying more than 4 or 5 shirts, it's unlikely to break the threshold.

But customers will often blame "the amount they pay" on the seller, regardless that the duty tariffs are imposed by their country. So it's nice to warn them (don't scare them through....the excess fee is usually VAT, GST or whatever your country's goods tax is....usually between 5%-17.5, although some have none and some are over 25%....I have a list of those too I made....I'll dig them up)
 

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Awesome, please do.

So how exactly do they go about paying this tax? When the delivery person comes to the door? Thanks in advance!
 

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Jasonda said:
In Canada, when the package arrives they ask you for the money. :) If you don't have the money or you're not home, they take it to the post office and you can pay for it when you pick it up.
No kidding uhn? Weird. But I guess it does the trick!
 

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I second the use of Global Priority Flat Rate - have used that a lot. And not to use Surface Mail - it takes ages. Now my next problem is how to ship about 50 t-shirts - I have a person who wants to distribute in another country, but it is going to be really expensive to send 50 or more t-shirts Airmail... Still thinking.
 
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